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KERA, Fort Worth Report Join Forces To Offer Mayoral Debate

Side-by-side headshots of Deborah Peoples & Mattie Parker speaking at events.
Fort Worth Report
Mayoral contenders Deborah Peoples, left, and Mattie Parker were the top two vote-getters in the May 1 election. The two women now head to a June 5 runoff to decide who will replace Betsy Price as Fort Worth's next mayor.

Ahead of the start of early voting for the June 5 runoff, the Fort Worth Report and KERA will offer a virtual debate between Fort Worth mayoral runoff candidates Deborah Peoples and Mattie Parker.

The contenders will face off at noon May 18. Both nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations will stream the debate live at and and on their Facebook pages.

"We are pleased to partner with fellow nonprofit news organization KERA to offer our audiences a nonpartisan way to learn about the two mayoral candidates,” said Chris Cobler, the CEO and publisher of the Report. “We consider educating, engaging and empowering Fort Worth residents to be at the core of our mission."

Peoples and Parker were the top two vote-getters in the May 1 election. Peoples, the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, finished first with 22,551 votes. Parker, the former chief of staff to Mayor Betsy Price, received 20,964 votes. They came out on top of a field of 10 mayoral candidates vying to replace Price, the city’s longest-serving mayor.

Early voting begins May 24 and ends June 1. Polls will be closed on May 31 for Memorial Day.

“This election is clearly a pivotal moment for Fort Worth,” said Rick Holter, KERA vice president of news. “And we’re excited to work with Fort Worth Report to help our audience in the city get to know the candidates — and ultimately get the context they need to make an informed decision.”

The moderator will be Sam Baker, KERA senior editor and local host for “Morning Edition.”

A panel of journalists from both news organizations will ask Peoples and Parker questions. The panelists include Cobler, Report investigative journalist Jessica Priest and KERA’s Fort Worth reporter Miranda Suarez.

The candidates will be asked in-depth questions about three topics.

The Report and KERA welcome questions from readers ahead of the debate. Email to submit your queries for Parker and Peoples. The panelists will select a few reader-submitted questions.

Questions also will be accepted during the livestream. Those can be submitted through the stream’s chat. A sampling of questions will be asked at the end of the debate.

Regardless of who wins, Fort Worth’s next mayor will make history. Peoples, 68, would be the city’s first Black mayor, and Parker, 37, would be the youngest mayor of any major U.S. city.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at or via Twitter.

This article first appeared on Fort Worth Report and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. His work has appeared in the Temple Daily Telegram, The Texas Tribune and the Texas Observer. He is a graduate of St. Edward’s University. Contact him at or via Twitter.